How To Pretty Up Your Kitchen on a Budget

If you’re anything like me, you probably spend at least an hour each day, if not more, in the kitchen. But so often a kitchen falls to the way side, especially if it isn’t the kitchen of your dream. So I thought I’d share how I made my less than ideal kitchen look prettier on a budget. These tips are great and should help you, whether you’re renting or simply looking to make an existing kitchen work.

  1. Keep the clutter at bay

This is my number one tip on making kitchens look better! Stash away as much as possible and keep those counter tops clear. You really only want to have things out that either doesn’t fit elsewhere (hello microwave) and basics like salt and pepper, that you reach for often, out on the counter. Limit your small appliances to the ones you use daily and put the rest away, but still within easy reach. If your kitchen is small, this is the single best tip to make it feel bigger and to free up more counter prep space.

2. Paint the backdoor

This is one of my personal pet peeves, but in South Africa so many homes have raw wood back doors that have simply been varnished. It does come down to personal preference, but if you find yourself unhappy with the overall look I’d recommend you try painting the orange-red tone door either white or a dark colour. It is amazing how much sleeker a room feels if you limit the wood tones in it. Sanding the door down to a beautiful raw wood tone (at least on the inside), could also be a beautiful way to add warmth to a plain white kitchen.

 

3. Limit the colours on display

This brings me to the colours you introduce into your kitchen. It is so easy to fall for all the pretty pastels, but if you’re dealing with a less than ideal kitchen restraining your colour palette is the best way to tone it down. I’m not saying all the miss-matched tupperware must go, but perhaps consider re-bottling some of your sink side essentials into clear glass bottles or removing the labels of products on display. Less visual clutter is always better!

4. Choose pretty basics

There are some things in your kitchen that you simply can’t hide. I advise you invest a little more in them, especially if it is something that you’ll be able to use for years to come. Think a beautiful gold dish drying tray, colour coordinated dishtowels and beautiful utilitarian items. Sometimes these might cost more or require more digging to find, but the joy they bring are so worth it. I’ve rounded up a few of my favourites  (and a few ‘when-I-win-the-lotto’ items), down below. I still think one of the saddest things about adult life is spending that much money on a rubbish bin, but at least I found some pretty ones!

5. Decorate the space

Something people often forget to do is to actually decorate the space as you would any other room in the house. Introducing your personality and style doesn’t have to mean you can only think about fridge magnets! Lay down a washable rug or beautiful bath mat to cover unsightly floors and introduce art work into the space. I like the look of beautiful trivets stacked against chopping boards and creating the transitional style I personally love through both classic and modern accessories. For you, this could mean something mid-century or glamorous depending on your personal style. I also don’t think you can overestimate the power of fresh flowers or a beautiful potted plant. Herbs are a popular choice for good reason.

1. Salt and Pepper Grinders | 2. Kettle | 3. Serviette holder | 4. Slotted spoon

5. Bin | 6. Broom | 7. Utensil holder | 8. Dishrack 

I hope you find these tips helpful in dealing with a basic kitchen and that this will help you enjoy the space that much more!

 

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Home Update: Living & Dining Room

Black and white bookcaseI feel like I’ve lost my blogging motivation a little and there probably isn’t a single reason, but I was struggling to figure out where I fit in. I’m doing it part-time, really only as a hobby, and I can’t compete with most blogs as they’ve become so editorial. I still enjoy those blogs, but that level of professionalism simply isn’t possible for me. I don’t make use of a professional photographer, don’t buy things only for the blog and producing a single post often has to spread out over three days.

But as I was sitting on my couch now, I realised I wanted to share our living room (great room?). It is our all-in-one living and dining room that doesn’t come to more than 30 square meters. It isn’t ‘done’ in the traditional sense of the word and I’m not being modest like most bloggers (we’re missing half our gallery wall) but our new flooring just pleases me so greatly that I can finally share the room with some pride. To say it has been a work in progress is probably an understatement. We moved in four years ago with only two small bookshelves and a borrowed couch. We’ve come a long way since then, so I’d love to share how we made this small living-cum-dining room work for us and our cats.

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Gift Guide: For Him

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think men are the hardest to shop for. At least the men in my life are! They aren’t metro men, so skin care or simple treats don’t really spark joy. If there is something they need or desperately want, they buy it. That only leaves items that are way out of anyone’s budget and a few obscure buys. If you have a similar experience when it comes to buying for men, or you’ve left Christmas shopping until the last minute for any other reason, this guide might help you.

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Christmas Gift Guide: For Her

It is that time of the year again! If you haven’t purchased gifts for all the ladies in your life yet, then perhaps some of these ideas might serve as inspiration.

Home

I’m starting with my favourite category, home goods! H&M Home and Poetry are usually my first stops. A beautiful plant (cactus or orchid) with a pot is one of my favourite gifts to give. This one from H&M fits the bill perfectly. I also recently bought two very pretty plant pots for under R200 each at Weylandts (not available online), so definitely worth a look. You also can’t go wrong with a marble cheese board. This one from Poetry is sold out online, but the wooden one is similarly priced and just as pretty. Occasional cutlery also makes a beautiful gift and I just purchased this cake fork set for myself. These golden tea spoons are just as pretty from H&M.

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Festive Van Der Hum Cocktail

This time of year – summer, the festive season and school holidays – is the ideal time to have friends and family over. Although our gatherings are usually fairly casual, I  love how a simple cocktail can make even a pizza party feel special. As Christmas is around the corner, you’ll likely find yourself playing host some time over the coming month. This cocktail is a staple in our house as it is so easy to scale according to party size, whether you’re solo wrapping all the gifts or hosting the extended family.

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My Current Skincare Routine & Essentials

My skincare routine has changed significantly since my original post on the subject over four years ago. While I think my routine was right for me, my skin and my budget at the time, I’m actually much happier with my current routine and line-up. If you’re looking to shake things up, you might be happy to implement some of the changes I have made.

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Why Podcasts are Great & Some of My Favourites

If you haven’t delved into the world of podcasts yet, you are seriously missing out! With so much amazing, quality  content available for free, there is little reason to go about life’s errands in silence any longer. Although I’m still fairly new to the subject, there are a handful of podcasts I listen to on a weekly basis. If you don’t like girly banter or true crime, this list might not be for you, but there is a whole universe out there waiting to be listened to. Standing in line at the grocery store has never been so entertaining!

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Six of My Favourite Coffee Table Books

Coffee table books

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but it is so much easier said than done! There are so many amazing books to choose from that it can be hard to narrow down which ones are worth the shipping costs, so I thought I’d give you a peak into some of my favourite coffee table books. They cover a vast range of topics from wanderlust inducing books on the City of Love to Caroline Khoo’s beautiful confectioneries that are literally the way to my heart.

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Hand Luggage Essentials

In flight travel essentials

Between packing for my husband’s frequent work trips (shh don’t tell the TSA agents!) and the trips I have been very lucky to go on, I’ve gained enough mileage to consider myself somewhat of an expert when it comes to choosing the hand luggage essentials. Now obviously a lot of what you choose to take with you depends on where you are going and how long your flight is, but I usually start with this list and add or subtract what is necessary.

On a shorter flight, say like the four hours to Mauritius, I only took my handbag and made sure to double check I had a lip balm and hair-tie. On other trips, especially ones where there isn’t a swanky airport pick-up arranged or a long layover is included, I choose a more sturdy backpack. My back already takes a beating on those crappy airplane seats, the last thing I want to do it hurt it even more! Plus backpacks tend to have plenty of storage space for the essentials. It goes without saying that I try to keep things to the minimum so that said back problems don’t worsen unnecessary. Find my full list below.

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